Tag Archive: Doug O’Malley

NJ Court: Gov. Christie Illegally Repealed Climate Change Pollution Rules

We don’t always get good news. From Gov. Christie, a politician happy to sacrifice common sense to impress far-right contributors and keep good buddies with the Koch boys, we mostly get bad news. Today, we got good news, because the NJ Appellate Division essentially overruled him, deciding that Christie illegally repealed RGGI, and broke the law in 2011 by excusing power plants from complying with regulations limiting pollution that contributes to climate change. It’s a huge win for Environment New Jersey and Natural Resources Defense Council. Susan Kraham, Senior Staff Attorney at Columbia University’s Environmental Law Clinic, represented the environmental groups in court:

“The court ruled that the public needs to be involved. Neither Governor Christie nor the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection can simply repeal state laws by fiat. The court gave the administration 60 days to initiate a public process around any changes to the climate change pollution rules.”

The case against the NJ DEP began two years ago, a year after Christie posted notice on a website that plants no longer had to comply with pollution limits, with the effect of killing NJ’s participation in RGGI, the 9-state program that has been reducing pollution from East Coast plants for 5 years.

More on the jump page, including reactions from Rush Holt & Steve Sweeney.

What Will Christie Do?

No doubt, being governor of New Jersey is a difficult job. You have to constantly make decisions which are bound to please one constituency while angering another. Such a decision needs to be made by Chris Christie before Monday.

An overwhelming majority in both houses passed Senate Bill S253. The bill bans the “treatment, discharge, disposal, or storage of wastewater … from natural gas exploration or production using hydraulic fracking.”

New Jersey leads the nation in the number of Superfund cleanup sites. The last thing we need is more pollutants, especially from other states, to exacerbate our continuing quest for a clean environment.

Today, a number of environmental groups, along with two clean environment advocates in the Senate, held a press conference to urge the Governor to sign the bill. Will Christie veto or conditionally veto the bill during the weekend news lull? Will he allow these pollutants in the state to please his Koch Brothers benefactors? Or will he do the right thing for the people of New Jersey and sign the bill?

Just like nuclear and traditional fossil fuels have hidden costs which need to be factored into the cost-benefit analysis, fracking also comes with covert but very real costs, to be borne by the consumer. At the press conference, Environment New Jersey issued a detailed report which describes these hidden costs. The report is available at this link.

According to Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club,

“The fracking process creates millions of gallons of wastewater and solids for every new well drilled and each well can be fracked multiple times.  Fracking waste contains over 700 hundred chemicals, many of them known carcinogens.  Long term exposure to these toxins can cause nervous system, kidney, or liver damage.  The gas industry is not required to disclose all the chemicals used in the process, and with these unknown additives it is impossible to know the full threat fracking waste presents.”

Prior to the news conference, I spoke with a co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Bob Gordon. Video of the entire press conference is below the fold.